What to do in New Orleans

Start off the day right with one of the best coffees in town. Stumptown has several branches all over America. Once you have your coffee in hand take a look around the lobby of the ACE Hotel. It has a bar with cozy lounge seats and sofas and rugs.

If you get up early enough head down with a friend to the Riverwalk, the best way to access it is around Canal Street. I got down there at 6.30am just in time to see the awesome sunrise with the famous Steamboat the Natchez in the foreground.

Love this Mardi Gras jester too. I did not take a ride on the steamboat, but I know you can do two-hour cruises on the Mississipi.

Remember to look up when you are walking around this area. I walked straight down Julia street, and there are so many amazing old buildings signs and warehouses which make great photos.

When I was researching New Orleans, the focus is usually on Bourbon Street in the French Quarter. There is still lots to see in this area like the St Louis Cathedral which is located just opposite Jackson Square. This square used to be where public executions would take place, of criminals and disobedient slaves.  The building next door to the Cathedral is where the Louisiana Purchase was signed.  Thank you to my friend Jacqui Phillips for putting up with me bossing her around. I lined up the shots and she snapped the ones which I am in.

Buildings in this area are stunningly beautiful with many festooned with plants, mardi gras beads, flowers and the trademark ornate balconies. This one on Royal Street was my favourite.

There are lots of places to eat Beignets in New Orleans with the Cafe Du Monde being very popular. But I found this cute cafe called Cafe Beignet (one of its sister cafe) which was quieter and therefore easier to get a table. Beignets are square doughnuts covered in lots and lots of powder sugar (icing sugar).

And then in the Hotel Monteleone, you will find the carousel bar in the Carousel room. This bar goes round and round in a circle, albeit it slowly, thank goodness. The bar gets quite busy, so head there when it opens around 11 am. Preferably not on the weekend.

Go for the Hotel’s signature New Orleans drink the Vieux Carre. Whiskey, Cognac, Vermouth. Benedictine, Peychaud’s bitters, and Angostura bitters. I managed to drink one before the spinning Carousel bar became a little bit too much 🙂

I mentioned that Bourbon Street et al. in the French Quarter is the area which gets all the attention. There’s lots of history there which is a must-see for sure. However, Faubourg Marigny and Bywater are two areas which need to be on your list. Bywater is predominantly a residential area, but the candy coloured houses are beyond cute.

And eclectic pop-up thrifts shops.

Bakeries, bookstores and super cool walls galore.

Found this bakery.. and my dress was the same colour. RESULT.

The Bywater bakery is full of the usual delicious treats. But I ate something there, that I had never had before…. Unicorn Poop! A meringue in pretty unicorn colours.

A short Uber ride away from the Bywater area is City Park. We spent an age gazing at the 600-year-old oak trees dripping with Spanish Moss.

And watching the boaters on the river.

After you have bonded with mother nature jump a Streetcar.

And head up to Commander’s Palace for traditional food and cocktails in traditional surroundings (smart attire required). We did not make it inside but hovered around outside in awe of the candy coloured building against the ocean coloured sky.

Seaworthy does some interesting dishes and has a cool bar for cocktails

For your nighttime music fix, Faubourg Marigny’s main street is lined with many bars screaming jazz music. I highly recommend a bar crawl, and time spent watching the brilliant street musicians too. I did try Bourbon Street at night, but it was not for me.

 

To get the best out of this New Orleans go (safely) off the beaten track. Put on your Louisiana tinted glasses and enjoy this gem of the south.

 

Big love

 

Lorraine xxx

A day trip to Cambridge

I have the wanderlust! After years of only travelling out of necessity or for a yearly Summer break, I feel an intense need to travel and explore the world. But instead of looking far a field for my first trip, I decided to start on my own front door step. Cambridge!

I have started this new thing it is called ‘getting to places early’. It gives me a chance to have a look around rather rushing through life and missing the beautiful things like the two pictures below. The 20-tonne bronze statue called ‘The Meeting Place;  is actually at St Pancras across the road and the roof at Kings Cross was breathtaking. Note-to-self, always remember to look up.

I had to snap some of the beautiful things I saw walking from the station.

 

 

 

And then came the river. So much serenity and beauty. In both Oxford (where I am from) and Cambridge, punting is a must.

 

 

I booked Six at the Varsity restaurant and bar which was right by the let’s go punting place. It has a roof top deck for drinks and then a restaurant with panoramic views just underneath for lunch. As it was midweek the place was perfectly quiet. Cambridge gives good sky and Varsity gives good food.

 

There are so many colleges to walk around. I chose King’s because of this Chapel. It was  £9 to walk around the grounds and the chapel but it’s not every day you look up and see something as intimidatingly beautiful as this ceiling.

And then Pembroke College which was free. At least I think it was 🙂 A friendly Japanese student told me that the college dates back to 1347.

Even though Oxford and Cambridge are arch rivals and I have to stay loyal to my home town Oxford, Cambridge is (almost) as stunning. As with much of Britain, it is rich with history and if you pay for a punting tour on the river, you will learn so much about which famous people went to what college and a whole lot more. I want to go back there someday but for the mean time, the places to visit on my wanderlust bucket list are every increasing. I need to tick a few of those off first. Which top 5 places home or away would you want to visit if time and money was no object? Comment below. Thanks for reading. Big love Lorraine xxx

 

 

Banana fruit boats- Last minute fancy dessert

Did you know the fruit and basil go super well? So it is not just to make the presentation look fancier 🙂

Those of you who follow me on social media may have noticed I have taken a liking to playing with my fruit as above before eating it. As a pastry chef, I have always been a stickler for presentation. If you are really stuck for a last minute dessert and you want a variation from a regular fruit bowl, how about placing these on your best plates served with a dollop of creme fraiche or whipped double cream?

You can spread these banana fruit boats with some peanut or other nut butter too prior to placing the fruit on top, to get more of a balanced bite with a little fat and protein for good measure (and to also, if I am honest to prevent the fruit from rolling off).

I am not so familiar with these yellow cherries, but they were rich juicy and sweet and a perfect colour combination for this picture. I know some of you have young kiddies, so presenting fruit in this way is a good way to get them eating it. Having some mint growing in the garden is also a good idea, but if you do, be sure that it is in its own container as this stuff grows like wild fire. But I find picking the mint leaves and doing a little quasi-gardening very relaxing.

Thank you for reading and have a great day.

Big love

Lorraine xxx

Frozen Lemon and Vanilla Cheesecake Protein bites with Raspberry and Basil

 

5 big tbsp of greek yogurt ( I used 0%) you can use almond milk if you fancy

1 scoop of vanilla protein powder

1 tsp of a good vanilla extract of the seeds of 1 vanilla pod

zest of 1 lemon

180ml pack of cream cheese, full, lower or lower fat

1 bowl of frozen berries

1 handful of basil leaves

 

Put the yogurt, vanilla protein powder, vanilla extract, lemon zest, cream cheese into a bowl and mix together well until smooth. Spoon the mixture into the mould. You can use a cupcake tray if you do not have a flexi mould like the one in the picture. You will need quite a thin layer of the mixture in the cupcake tray. Smooth off the top of the cheesecake bite so that they are nice and flat.

Freeze until they are firm and then pop them out of the moulds/tray and place on to a serving tray. Take them out before they are too solid to eat however. And if you find you have left them in the fridge for too long, then just let them soften a tiny bit before eating. Place the berries on top along with the basil and serve.

Big love

Lorraine x

Double Chocolate Chip Protein Muffins

Hello, Good afternoon to you. Scroll down past these six pictures and you will find the recipe.

FYI. This mixing bowl was the one I used to test all of the recipes for baking made easy. Memories.

This recipe makes six hefty brownies!

So I do not bake very much anymore. I write I do TV, and I talk about it a lot about baking, but the actual process of baking? Not so much. I was feeling in need of some nurturing food. Some thing rich, dark and filling with a slightly healthy edge. I confess with flying around so much that these days I have been eating out an awful lot or getting delivery in. Now this recipe will take some freestyling from you, which is not a method I like to sing about. But a lot depends on the type of protein you use and also the type of protein powder that you use. Each one will require a different quantity of milk. I am going to talk you through it though so you will have me right there every step of the way. I used Neat Nutrition Vegan protein powder and the freeform fairy flour. If you are a freeform person, I highly recommend it. Great product which is full of fibre too. Rare for a gluten-free flour. Let’s go.

 

1oog of neat nutrition vegan vanilla protein powder

175g of the freedom fairy flour ( I used her plain flour)

70g of dark or milk chocolate chips

65g of caster sugar

50g of cocoa powder

2 tsp of baking powder

2 medium eggs

325-400ml of semi-skimmed milk

 

Preheat the oven to 210c/190 fan/gas mark 6 and line a muffin tin with the paper cases. You can either make 12 tiny ones of these of  6 big ones. I like the big ones so that the mixture fills the cases nicely.

As this mixture is gluten-free and contains protein, the texture will be a little different to your usual muffins. The top will look a little dry once baked, but I brushed mine with a little avocado oil for the picture.

I am not one for the whole two bowls with the wet and the dry. With muffins, I just put it all into the one bowl and the mix using as few stirs as possible so that your muffins are not super overworked and chewy.

Now, this is the part where you have to use your expertise. The mixture needs to be looser than a usual cake batter but then not super runny, so you will need to add the 325ml of milk first. Then gradually add  the amount that you need until it reaches a ‘reluctant dropping consistency’.

Then using an ice cream scoop or two large spoons portion the mixture out into the paper cases. Then pop the muffin on to a baking tray (this makes it easier to maneuver in and out of the oven and bake it for around 20 minutes. Check it after 15; I pulled mine out when there was a little squidge inside still but the outside was cooked. It is important that these are not overbaked as we want your muffins to be moist and chocolatey inside.

I ate mine fresh from the oven when it was still warm and the chocolate chips, although still in their shape were still gooey. Yes, please!

Enjoy baking them and let me know how you get on with them. And remember different proteins and flours will behave differently. If you are going to use regular plain flour, then you will not need as much liquid in the recipe as gluten-free flour tends to be quite thirsty.

Have a lovely day and thank you for reading. I know how busy you are and I very much appreciate you visiting my website!

Big love

Lorraine xxx

 

Please excuse typos and grammatical errors. I only achieved a C in English GCSE 🙂